Meetings of the mind

Blogging is a precursor of intensely collaborative "meetings of the mind". The ways our minds are getting provoked and evolved by writing, commenting and following links -- foretells of ways our minds can come together more creatively. This is a different formulation of the value proposition assumed by holding conversations and interactive sessions at conferences. The value presumed by "being in the same place literally" will be replaced by "coming from the same place metaphorically". Meetings of the mind will emerge like the butterfly from a cocoon. This is one way to replace the strange persistence of conferences and to introduce a profitable business model for "live blogging".

Show me what you're thinking. When we can visualize each other's thinking, we can contribute in new ways beyond the value we provide with our words. As thoughts get translated into imagery, there are many other ways to join in, play around and morph the visualization into a different picture. Thinkers at a meetings of the mind can say "I see what you're picturing" or "here's some interconnections that might help you see what you're trying to get at". We can jump into someone else's "multi-player ideation map" and exclaim "that picture gives me an idea for a different solution" or "seeing it that way is showing me what I'm missing in my concept of this". We will be vividly picturing how each of us thinks through an issue. We will watch how our thinking evolves together.

Come face this design challenge together. Blogging immerses us in resolving conceptual issues. Meetings of the mind will get down to the business of creating innovative solutions to actual problems. Mark Oehlert recently had a taste of this:

... the Game Design Challenge session at the Game Developers Conference. Man! This session is just just people pushing each other to new levels of creativity and innovation...I desperately want that kind of passion and excitement in this field and at our conferences.

Having just finished reading The Ten Faces of Innovation, I think IDEO already has has a viable model for collaborative innovation processes. A meeting of our minds would be launched with video observations, interviews and timelines of people's experiences at work. We'd want to get to the nitty gritty details from the lives of learners, instructional designers, Chief Learning Officers -- you name it. Their issues, problems, conflicts, obstacles and limitations would become apparent to us. We would then consider different metaphors and definitions of the problem. After quickly prototyping possible solutions, we'd learn from each other's impressions of the tentative solution. Another iteration would quickly follow. The intensity and fulfillment that Mark describes is inherent in this process. Meetings of the mind will generate innovations that take the ideas we've been blogging about into trial implementations and then viral adoption.

Post your confusion for us. We all have other long term questions and vague possibilities in mind that are still incubating. Meetings of the mind will publish these messes long before they are presentable. Others can contribute to our considerations while we're still formulating, rethinking, complicating, and dismissing ideas. People will discover similar, useful, parallel or contradictory approaches in our meanderings and misgivings. In addition to getting an organized presentation from us that's easy to follow, they'll be thriving on a mess they can tag, annotate and link from other contexts. We will collectively support each other's evolution from publishing confused possibilities to clear concepts and solutions.

Say how that's valuable to you. When we blog or add comments, we may know our writing was good, but we don't know how it was good for others. In meetings of the mind, we will become increasingly clear about how we helped, what difference we made and which ways we are valuable in other contexts. Because the focus is on changing our minds (instead of presentations and conversations) we will be clear how another's input contributed to those changes. We will each develop brands and value propositions like entrepreneurial start-ups. We'll become articulate, sophisticated consumers of each other's contributions. We'll be known and relied upon for the ways we make differences to meetings of the mind.

Once meetings of the mind are occurring, we may have mini conferences, weekly conferences, combined conferences, and extended conferences. The value of these confabs will get compared to other forms of meeting, sharing information, conversing and presenting. Established modes of conferencing will be questioned for how effectively they achieve innovative solutions, productive collaborations and rapid evolution of thought processes. The standard may eventually evolve so we always ask: how much of "a meeting of the minds" came from that session?

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